Jack Kornfield – Episode 14 – Simplicity and Sympathy

The spirit of simplicity, presence, and sympathy of heart can carry us through the most difficult and beautiful of times. When we learn to make peace with the way life is, with the understanding that this capacity is our own true nature, then we fully embody the heart’s deepest desire

Recommendations:

The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)

Episode Outline:

• Serenity – is to be found in the understanding and acceptance of life as it actually is. Spiritual practice is the invitation to explore and discover this for ourselves
• Two Strategies – In approaching all that life has to offer, we have a choice in whether we shut down and deny, or soften and meet the joys and sorrows with compassion
• Pleasure vs. Happiness (‘Happiness without a Hangover’) – We often think that if we can gather and sustain enough pleasurable experiences that we will then feel content. This approach can be exhausting and consistently fails to bring a true happiness based on the openness of the heart
• Acknowledging Difficulty – When we begin to bow to the struggles we all inevitably experience then we start to cultivate a sympathy and compassion for ourselves, which subsequently transfers to other beings
• It’s So Simple – The essence of spiritual practice boils down to whether we can be present for this world as it is. To awaken and be truly effective in our lives requires a profound sense of compassion, for everyone and everything
• Start with Yourself – Your exercise in compassion begins with yourself, as an offering of peace and presence for the difficulties you experience. You can then shift your focus to someone you consider to be ‘neutral’, and eventually open to the more difficult people in your life, embracing the full spectrum is the goal
• Breaking the Patterns – Meditation and retreat provide the necessary opportunity to break the cycle of images and patterns that we form in our day-to-day lives. We get a chance to see the operation from a larger perspective, and our grip loosens to accommodate the freedom and space we encounter
• Finding Freedom – This requires honesty with ourselves, and where we are in the moment. We always know when we aren’t operating from the deeper heart, and need only to practice trust
• No Matter Where We Are – We can always look outside of the external influences and connect with our true being

 

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